Bangkok’s Multi-Colored Taxis

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Unlike the rest of the world, where taxis are usually yellow and black, Bangkok’s taxis come in a full range of colors. There are pink taxis, orange taxis, purple taxis, green taxes, yellow taxis and taxis in various combinations. While taxi color in other countries signify nothing in particular, Bangkok’s taxis are actually color coded. The single-color are company taxis, personal taxis in cooperation or alliance and rental company taxis. These color include bright green, bright sky blue, red, orange, yellow, blue, pink, purple, violet and tan. The bi-colored taxis are in 3 kinds including yellow-green, red-blue and yellow-orange. The yellow-green are the personal private taxi. The red-blue are the rental taxi. The yellow-orange are the company taxi. Taxis are abundant in Bangkok so you can pick any color you like, but the yellow-green taxis are generally reckoned to be better, being owned and driven by the owners themselves.

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Activities forbidden inside a Bangkok taxi. Photo credit

Bangkok’s colored transportation isn’t limited to just taxis; the buses are colored too and each color signify a different fare, route, ownership and whether or not it has air-conditioning. The non-air conditioned regular buses are colored a combination of red and cream. These are operated by Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) and are the cheapest bus service in the city. With the air pollution and heat in Bangkok, traveling on these buses can be a trying experience, especially during daytime and rush hours. The white-blue color buses are no better - non-air conditioned – and the fares are slightly higher.

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The cream-blue color air-conditioned buses, also operated by the BMTA, are slightly more convenient than the regular buses. The yellow-orange color Euro II buses are also air-conditioned and relatively new. Purple or red colored are micro-buses that are privately owned and offers an alternative bus service to the population. They are air-conditioned, have a fixed fare regardless of the distance travelled and only stops if there are still vacant seats available, so every passenger is guaranteed a seat.

The best way for visitors to figure out which bus goes where is by the bus number and its color, and they have to match. For instance, the bus no# 7 color blue does not take the same route as bus no# 7 color red or yellow or green. The BMTA bus map comes very handy if one plans to tour the city by bus.

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A “red shirts” rally in Bangkok in 2010 organized to mark the ousting of former Thai prime minister Thaksin by a military coup 4 years ago. Photo credit

Bangkok’s obsession for color goes beyond taxis and buses. The Thais have different colors for each day of the week. Sunday is red, Monday is yellow, Tuesday is pink, Wednesday is green (day) and grey (night), Thursday is orange, Friday is blue, and Saturday is purple. These colors are considered lucky and celebrated as birthday colors.

Even politics in Thailand is color oriented. Until recently it was a common sight to see people wearing yellow shirts on a Monday and blue shirts on a Friday in honor of their king and queen, who were respectively born on a Monday and a Friday. That changed when yellow became associated with the People’s Alliance for Democracy – a group against the present Thai government. Their opposition is the red shirts and the two often protest in the thousands at some of Bangkok’s most famous landmarks.

Those who don’t want to make a political statement wear pink these days. People started adopting the color after the King was seen wearing a pink blazer in a public appearance. Apparently, an astrologer had suggested him to wear pink.

Sources: Wikipedia / Bangkok Family Vacations / BMTA / Into Asia / Noupe / Time

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